Welcome Aboard! … the “for your eyes only” blog

“Paris, Now and Then”

(wc on 300# arches paper)


Your life, my life, the neighbor’s life and the world around us all combine to create days filled with ups and downs.  Oh, we probably spend more time on the level spots, but when life happens…..it is like a roller coaster.

I am a real estate agent.  O.K., the National Association of Realtors prefer that I call myself a Realtor.  Fair enough.  I do pay my annual dues and when I joined I promised to uphold their code of Ethics.  I have been an artist much longer. It has been my life’s passion. (That’s one of mine up there at the top of this blog.) You?  You could come from any walk of life.  Visitors to my blog include other agents, folks in the mortgage industry, major news publications as well as Doctors, Lawyers and an occasional Indian Chief.

I love this venue.  Admission is free and the only requirement is the desire to read.  The content here will not follow any discernible pattern.  I might share information about the Home Buyers Tax Credit one day and the next post a personal entry about my life, my love, my children or the pain of being a sports fan in the Nations Capital. At other times, I just might share a new piece of my art.  I use this little spot to expose me.

I believe a stronger bond is formed when two sides have something in common.  I will not deny, my goal is to present myself to those of you that do not know me and might be in need of my services.  I do my best work when there is a comfort level between me and my clients.

So, scroll through the offerings.  If you have a specific question, well you can send an email, (email address – macarthurgroup@gmail.com . If you like it, you can even share with a friend.

You can search by using categories or terms. Or you can be brave and read every entry. It is your blog.

If nothing else, welcome aboard and enjoy the ride

Random thoughts …

of course i make mistakes, how else can i become a better person…i have my own closets, my own demons and my own feet of clay. as time passes and fears are faced, dragons are slayed. the power over every fear is within any of us..it just seems to be hard to find sometimes…just because you can not find it does not mean it is not there..dig deeper

Outside the Beltway….people of all persuasions don’t understand the inability of elected officials to find common sense compromise on major issues. Most Americans want tighter restrictions on guns. Yes, they support the Second Amendment but find it unacceptable that there are minimal restrictions on purchase and little oversight on whom can and cannot have a weapon. Most people accept that hunting game occurs but most people don’t believe automatic, large magazine weapons should ever be fired except under very controlled circumstances. When asked to produce something more than thoughts and prayers, our elected officials response – crickets. Nada. The victims from Sandy Hook et al are ignored and forgotten. Really??? Maybe if the blow hards focused on accomplishing a better America rather than focusing on Re-election as the sun sets on their Inauguration Day we might have a more United States. Voting rights? My God, how hard can it be to craft national standards? If you are of voting age and have no restrictions on your right to vote such as a prior felony conviction <-another stupid impediment, you should easily have access to voting. Personally, I think you should be able to prove you are who you say you are. Voter photo id should make everyone comfortable. Impossible? Hell no. Costco can create a photo id in every location for those that wish to pay for membership. They do it in minutes. Driver’s licenses are issued with a photo on the spot. It appears creation of a photo id is simple. Work out logistics and let America vote. Or….. we can just continue with the rich getting richer and white privilege remaining the under current of everything we do. Make America Great Again? Damn it, do your job and make America whole again!

It isn’t to late for this baby nation to change course and become civilized

Time spent being what you think others expect you to be is time wasted.

This is a minefield. Especially dangerous for those of us that share how we feel at any point in time. It seems every opinion has an opposing view. Facts are shared as seen by the person doing the sharing. For all the political angst, nothing shared changes one attaboy or the belief of someone that disagrees. Just like divorce, people take sides and either support or castigate the person posting. Personally, I don’t have a filter. My life and mood and feelings are an open book. Methinks being a publisher is not worth the angst. I am an artist. If you wish, you can see my work on Instagram @jmacsays. I will let pictures do the talking. Namaste 🙏

Into every life a little rain must fall….some times it is a drizzle and other times it is a damn monsoon. Not to worry, it is still just rain

Sort of a vague explanation…..

Pumphandle, TX pop.78It is a slow day in the small West Texas town of Pumphandle, and streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody is living on credit. A tourist visiting the area drives through town, stops at the motel, and lays a $100 bill on the desk, saying he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs to pick one for the night. As soon as he walks upstairs, the motel owner grabs the bill and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher. The butcher takes the $100 and runs down the street to retire his debt to the pig farmer. The pig farmer takes the $100 and heads off to pay his bill to his supplier, the Co-op. The guy at the Co-op takes the $100 and runs to pay his debt to the local prostitute, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer her “services” on credit. The hooker rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill with the hotel owner. The hotel proprietor then places the $100 back on the counter so the traveler will not suspect anything. At that moment the traveler comes down the stairs, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, picks up the $100 bill and leaves. No one produced anything. No one earned anything. However, the whole town is now out of debt and now looks to the future with a lot more optimism. And that is how a Stimulus Plan works.

Forgive my expression. If an elected representative at any level fails to support strict gun control legislation, the should be charged with malfeasance of duty and added as a co-conspirator to any gun violence that occurs within a jurisdiction they represent. I don’t want to come for your guns. You need something to affirm your manhood, keep your gun. Weapons of war, designed to kill people do need to be outlawed. 45 mass shootings in a month!!!! The US Capital under siege by home grown terrorist. Those failing to pass strong legislation are FUCKING treasonous cowards. Enough. Enough cops gunning down people. Enough “disgruntled “ whack jobs. ENOUGH!!!! Damn it

I need to boil some water or something. I keep running out of steam. Used to work alla prima. Lately, I seem to need naps and work alla never prima.

Having both Covid-19 shots during a world wide quarantine is much like being all dressed up with no where to go.

Early Puritan spin was very powerful. They burned women to death and called them witches. Even today, people fear witches when maybe they should be afraid of the folks that murdered women on a hunch.

I am white. There is no way I can truly step in the shoes of any person of color’s shoes. I could sit in classrooms for hours. I could be the only white person in a community of people of color. I still would be a white man. Sensitivity is a reaction to something done to you. Empathy is sharing a common experience. Understanding takes sympathy. I have done insensitive things in my life. I have said insensitive things. I have made mistakes which I accept full responsibility. I truly love Henry Allred. I am aware his life and mine have been different. I will never truly feel his pain from things that may have happened to him. I will forever desire to be by his side as a true friend and support him. Matt James will one day realize that Rachael may need to understand in greater depth how “white privilege” is a reality, she will never truly “feel” anything the same way a woman of color. Sad to see this train wreck on National TV, but then rich white network executives do everything based on ratings.

Forgive my expression. If an elected representative at any level fails to support strict gun control legislation, the should be charged with malfeasance of duty and added as a co-conspirator to any gun violence that occurs within a jurisdiction they represent. I don’t want to come for your guns. You need something to affirm your manhood, keep your gun. Weapons of war, designed to kill people do need to be outlawed. 45 mass shootings in a month!!!! The US Capital under siege by home grown terrorist. Those failing to pass strong legislation are FUCKING treasonous cowards. Enough. Enough cops gunning down people. Enough “disgruntled “ whack jobs. ENOUGH!!!! Damn it

it is a pity that one day a man will sit down on the pier. his tired eyes will look back towards shore. all along the way, he will see others celebrating their catch. he will remember that as he strolled to this point, he cast many lines and left them afloat, moving to another spot. the growl from his hungry stomach will remind him that he never stayed with any one line long enough to catch a fish. his shadow, cast by the setting sun, will be the last thing he accomplishes. it too will be gone when the night falls and he is left alone, hungry beneath the star lit sky.

Walked the “Underground Railroad” trail in Sandy Spring. Leisurely. Of course, I did not have bloodhounds howling in the distance. I did not have racist slave owners behind me. It was not the dead of night with only stars to guide me. Just a leisurely walk over hallowed ground. White privilege.

If you are double checking on “cya” options when writing an offer for a client, you are worried about the wrong “Ass”. You represent your client. Done correctly, you worry about making sure they are protected. But that is my view. I am an old school Realtor

For most of my life I dreamed of going to Paris. Now, I will spend the rest of my life dreaming of going to Paris. But, I will always have Paris

I had my first solo show in Baltimore back in the late 90’s. I walked in, saw the crowd. Immediately felt I don’t belong here. Turned around and left. Some thought that was rude. I get that. But that feeling was over powering. I don’t belong here. So I returned to small time venues and selling while interacting. The feeling remained. I don’t belong here. Time passed and I began to get involved with art groups. Every meeting. Every paint out. Every time. I don’t belong here. I went to a 4 day event in Crisfield. Tried to stay to myself. The whisper was the same. I don’t belong here. So in honor of that persistent feeling, you can listen to it. (Creep by Radiohead)

Covid Relief…address the elephant in the room. People can not pay mortgages or rent. Business owners can not pay rent. Sending checks is a necessary bandaid. Somehow, landlords need to be made whole or close to whole. If landlords forgive rent, maybe there is a way that the government can offset that loss of income. It is unreasonable to expect anyone to just lose money. Property owners are not responsible for the pandemic. They are victims too. If mortgage holders waive missed payments, they should be made whole as well. I am not a financial genius. There should be formulas that address whose bottom line is impacted. A sound plan of easing the economic impact of the virus has to cover all facets of the economy.

I was so excited to see the “Mona Lisa” in person. So many things happened here in 1963. (https://www.jfklibrary.org/asset-viewer/archives/JFKWHP/1963/Month%2001/Day%2008/JFKWHP-1963-01-08-C?fbclid=IwAR3L79ns5Vk7pGeVClMrcIwwfcsLoZlv5bGKLmXADwT3ALjh5iqswyqv1Ng)

After the January 6th insurrection….. Due to covid travel restrictions, the US had to conduct it’s coup d’état at home this year.

To my grandchildren One day you will look back and wonder what happened when US citizens believed lies and chose to storm the US Capitol in an act of sedition. Nothing changed. Our elected representatives took shelter. When the authorities secured the area, the House and Senate reconvened and certified the election of Joseph Biden. Yes it was sad to see people behave that way. They may have believed lies told by trump, but they will always be responsible for their behavior. If nothing else, you will forever have video recordings of what an attempted coup in the US looked like. I regret that this is part of the legacy me and my generation have left you. If nothing else, let it be a lesson for you and your generation that liars and bullies have no place in elected office. Much love Pop Pop

I lost both my parents. It took a long time to come to grips with the way they raised me, my brother and my sister. To the world, they were witty and caring. Closed doors keep many secrets. I know it is a disease. If you suffer, go to war. If you just weakly accept it, you will die. You will die a slow painful death. Those that love you, will die a little bit too. They will be left with questions that really never can be answered. They will be left unarmed to fight battles that lay before them. They will be left…without you. So fight on with every ounce of strength you can muster. They deserve better and so do you.

Wife gave me a French Press for Christmas. Instructions say coarse ground coffee. Ours is fine ground so I head to the market. Wander aisles. Find coffee cans but no beans. Ask a young fellow “Where are the bulk coffee beans and the grinding machine?”. He just stared at me and said “What?” I said,” You know the machine you have in the store where I can grind and bag my own coffee.” He again said “What?” With a somewhat raised voice, “ The containers of coffee beans and the machine where I can select my grind and the little bags you fill. It was here somewhere.” “Sir, I don’t know what you are talking about. The coffee is right there. ALL the coffee. We don’t have anything like what you describe.” He turned and walked away. I headed for the manager’s office. Day after Christmas. He’s off. The “asst manager”, a young squirt still exiting puberty patiently listens to the same plea. “Sir, I have never heard of such a machine in any grocery store”. I walked away muttering “How about John Kennedy, the Beatles or Vietnam?”Does anyone recall the coffee grinding set up? Where the hell did that go?

Thoughts on the middle of the night. Do boys still grab the top of a bat and proclaim “eagle claws” when deciding who gets first pick in a pick up game of baseball? Could I just proclaim victory in the 1976 Congressional election and get 45 years of back pay? Why are there so many guns in the hands of gang bangers when hunters are fighting for less stringent gun laws? If you carve off the extremists (about 10% on each end) and you have 80% of the population well aware of the problems we face, why don’t they get resolved? Sleep won’t come ….. and answers don’t appear.

“Sun comes up Wednesday Morning”no matter how dark the night it passes no matter how real the fright it passes no matter how deep the pain it passes no matter how dark the stain it passes concrete covers clay children remain at play aprils discovers may you only have today still i move from then till now never knowing how so many words are left unsaid so many living are really dead sunset fills hearts with dred bodies cut till they bled tuesday finds rain and mourning hidden acts from others scorning failing to heed closed box warning sun comes up wednesday morning

When you just can’t find refuge in sleep. I have family members that are angry with the State of the Union. They have lived through at least 16 years of political rancor. Politicians on both sides of the aisle refusing to work together at every level has soured them on any hope for the future. The unabated assault on the ” middle class ” and the widening gap between the very rich and the rest of the people has left many one or two pay checks from financial disaster. The housing market meltdown, the total lack of punishment for individuals that run our financial institutions and made huge personal profits, the flawed implementation of the Affordable Care Act, discovering that apparently every airbag is a time bomb, the rampant rise in opioid addiction, facing news that doctors that are supposed to provide care are actually prescribing drugs that enslave us and more. Roads and bridges in disrepair, public transportation systems that are outdated, public school systems that do not provide education, college tuition that continues to rise, mass shootings with no sensible gun control in sight, violence by and against those that protect and serve and all of these issues served up on videos from cell phones. We live in the golden age of computers and clouds, yet privacy is not available. Sexting is the new “look at me” from the inner city to the suburbs to the once hallowed halls of Congress.There is so much to be angry about. And so many feel impotent, powerless to make any of it any bettor.And what happens? One person stands up and gives voice to their pain. One person rises above the din of politics as usual. One person captures that last hope and is the embodiment of Lazarus and half of America is begging him to dip his finger in cool water and provide salve to their torment. Regardless of his actual track record, he says the right things. We as a people have become so isolated, so entrenched in seeking the holy grail that answers “what about me?”, so disconnected from one another, we only hear the answers we want to hear. Every despicable statement is countered with a childlike “he doesn’t mean that, he is going to make us great again!The 21st century has not been so good. The 20th century was better, but to be fair, we have the full century to analyze. This is not to say it was all good, but we progressed one decade at a time. We were united in our growth. We as a diverse people created a Great Nation. I hear the cries of we are still a great nation. If that were true, half the people would not be roaring “Make America Great Again!”.In order to achieve that greatness, we can not forget the diverse cultures that first brought us that “greatness”. We are a nation of immigrants. To be fair, it was not only the best and brightest that came to these shores. Our system of government, of the people…by the people…and for the people, was the best and brightest hope. These truths we hold self evident!People of all color are in that mix. People of every sex are in that mix. The able and disabled are in that mix. People of every religious persuasion are in that mix. All of us, not the select few. Not the rich. Not corporations. All of us.We have a right to be angry. We have a right to be damn angry. We do not have the right to be lazy. We do not have the right to succumb to our very personal angst at the expense of others. We do not have the right to cede our greatness to a pied piper that plays a magical song with no substance for the lyrics.I can not sleep. I hear that voter turn out among African-Americans is down. Let’s play the race card. In many important swing states, people of color have the power. They can get off their collective ass and vote. In a bridge game, that would be a one no trump winning hand. Or they can whine that the first President of color was treated badly and stay home. Yes we can will evolve into no we won’t. Stay home. Every progressive step we have made from MLK Jr. to Barack Obama will be washed away in the shameful tide of your indifference. I hear women openly support a candidate that has referred to them as pigs, etc. I hear them openly support a platform that is oppressive to women’s right to equality and control of their body. A vote for that man is surely replacing the glass ceiling with a iron wall. Your mothers, your grandmothers and their mothers fought so you might have a voice. It would behoove each of you to look at your daughters before casting a ballot. I find it odd that I feel the phrasing “I just grab them by the pussy” is disgusting and so many women seem to just shrug their shoulders.I can not extol the virtues of any of the candidates. 16 years of stagnation has left me angry as well. For some 8 years of Bush was horrible. For others, 8 years of Obama has been a nightmare. It seems lost in the shuffle that all 16 years have suffered partisan divide in the house and senate. All the focus is on him and her. The people that have been stealing our surge to greatness continue to operate under the radar. Incumbents remain in office and continue to be re-elected. Follow the money. We the people have no paid lobbyist. The house and senate is bought and paid for. Yet, we focus on him and her. She is no picnic, but he is definitely not the answer. To his credit, he has voiced real concerns. To his detriment, his answers are far from palatable.He has so many people I care for fooled. So, it is now almost 7:30 in the morning and I can’t sleep.

This is a note to all young people of color that haven’t decided to vote. Please don’t let your future be controlled by the desires of white people. Vote. Vote like tomorrow depends on it, because it does. Vote like your life depends on it, because it may. Vote because it is your right. Staying home is what those in power want you to do. You have a voice. Use it. Vote. If you share, this message may reach more. Thank you.

wonders about life….roads taken, roads forsaken…every road has a toll…sometimes at the beginning..sometimes at the end….often the exchange rate on the cost is not understood until the road is long forgotten…………everyone must choose. . . and everyone must pay……..what price….each decides……….

Why are so many upset with the people at Trump rallies apparently not wearing masks or social distancing? Most of his faithful are “inbreds “ which would negate the rules as it is ok to be with family. And if any of them contract Covid and die. So what. Just label it as political suicide and move on. Natural selection at work weaning the diseased from our midst. Hmmm, maybe in a strange fashion, Trump is making America great again.

FB asked for a bio…i entered..I am an artist. No, I have not been classically trained. I really haven’t had much formal training at all. Orange. Orange is the first color I remember using. I was very little. My parents rented an apartment on Porter Street in NW Washington, DC. At some point, I was exploring and found a can of orange paint. I painted every basement window in our building orange.Pink was the next color. My parents had moved to Lanier Place in Adams Morgan. It was a wonderful row house just blocks from the National Zoo. The previous tenants had left a large can of pink paint in the basement. I proceeded to paint my mother’s mixer and bowl pink. My father attempted to circumvent my destruction. He bought me a small tin of water colors (red, yellow and blue) and a brush. I imagine he reasoned that anything I painted could be cleaned easier.I learned how to make secondary colors. I was curious and began looking for other things that might make paint. I discovered clay, coffee, berries and bark. Life was grand.One day, my father (the drama editor of the Evening Star newspaper) told me that he was going to take me to the movies. It was a movie about a famous artist and he thought I might enjoy it. Off we went to the premier of “Lust for Life”. Kirk Douglas or a stand-in was at the premier, dressed in character. He sat down to be interviewed by my father. He handed me the wooden box paint set prop.I was only 10 years old and I had my very own, absolutely genuine paint set. There was a little palette, about 8 tubes of acrylic paint and two or three brushes and a palette knife.Life has never been the same they said it was too much…????

I am not a victim. I do not expect the Government to take care of me. I do expect the Government to pay me Social Security just like they expected me to pay into the system for 50 years. I do not believe it is absurd to provide adequate health care for all people. I have no problem with paying a fair share of taxes. I am Pro-Life and Pro-choice. I am part of the generation that did create things. I am part of the generation that allowed the government to get too big. I am part of the generation that accepted the benefits of gross consumption would outweigh the damage being done to the planet. I am part of the generation that remembers very well what happens when a leader identifies a certain group of society as being superior and sets up policies that effectively segregate and eradicate any person not a member of the superior group. My generation lived through history and we know what happens when “free” people are labeled as a “drag” on society. Lastly, we remember what happens when leaders use the word “camp” to define anything. I am not a victim, and I will vote!

You see, I remember all the years. I don’t need little notes from the interweb……He was Petey Wheatstraw…climbing between dogs that were fighting and ending up in the emergency room..he was the little quarterback that could leading his flag team to a championship (after the game, no celebration..just dad, I’m really cold, can we get hot chocolate?)…he was the blur on ice for several years playing hockey…then golf won his heart…people at Gunpowder (30 years after the fact) recall him competing in the Club Championship finals…being 2 up or so after nine and then accepting an ice cold beer from his foe (the boy never had a drink before) and losing the match as he stumbled in. Then in flash he was gone, off on his own, opening a pizza stop, becoming a dad and a wonderful sober man. Tonight, I still feel the pain of the truth of one conversation we had. I was separated from his mother. I had been over to see my kids. I was leaving and he was in bed crying. I sat down next to him and said “I know how you feel son. It will be ok”. He stared at me with tear filled eyes and said “How would you know? Your father didn’t leave you!”. He taught me an incredible lesson with one statement. We survived. Broken marriages often lead to broken relationships. We found a place to rebuild. With the pain of failure, I also have such a warm feeling of joy when I also recall celebrating a birthday back in 2009. I was having dinner with family. My wife, Lourdes, tapped me on the shoulder and said I have one more surprise, turn around. It was Johnny, my son. She had secretly flown him here for a weekend of golf.

My neighbors like me. I am a good neighbor. I am a fervent anti-fascist. I am pretty sure my neighbors would not welcome a fascist warmly.

“Whites were more likely than blacks to see outsiders stirring up trouble or hearing news of riots in other cities as a cause of rioting. Blacks were more likely to blame riots on lack of opportunities, unemployment, bad living conditions, and racial segregation in schools. Nowhere did black and white views diverge more dramatically than on police brutality. Perception of police brutality as a cause of riots was 54 percentage points higher among blacks than among whites.”Oh, that is from a survey released in March 1967. How can anyone fail to understand that as much as the Government and politicians claim things have changed, things remain the same.

2020. White privileged think it is the worst year in recent history. How quickly they ignore or overlook 1968 when leaders and innocents were murdered, cities burned and so many frustrated people gave up hope for a better tomorrow. For every George Floyd ruthlessly murdered and captured on social media, there is a forgotten Daniel Henry.

I can not understand the gullibility of some people. But then Jim Jones had folks drinking his kool aid until they dropped one on another – dead

I was the adhd stranger. I have a brain that does math easily. Words form without effort. I barely crept out of high school. I had a brief taste of college. I managed to survive and raise a few families in one of the most expensive counties in the United States. I have always been a round peg in a society full of square holes. I am an artist. Self taught and forever learning. There will be so many more like me, artists, dancers, singers, and any manner of creative endeavor.

So what does this artist do to earn a living and support my artistic journey? After what seems like a lifetime of an endless succession of “careers”, almost 20 years ago I chose to become a Realtor. Why real estate? Gosh, there must be thousands of real estate agents. There are those that practice the craft full time and an even greater number that dabble on a part-time basis. There are men and women from every sort of background. The easy access to a license has forever created this large melting pot of self employed entrepreneurs seeking their piece of the pie.I would imagine every single one of them has a reason why they became an agent. In conversations I have had with agents, the reasons range from the lure of a high dollar income to I had to sell my mother’s house so I got a license and a fascinating array of life situations that instigated their pursuit.Consumers should have an inkling of why the person representing them chose to be an agent. It is not the only factor, but motivation surely is a significant factor when attempting to evaluate someone you are hiring to do a job for you.I won’t speak for anyone other than myself. I can not pretend to know what events or reasons motivated anyone else. I know my roots and I know why I am here and why I have chosen to be an agent.The reason? It fit. I am an artist first. I also have needs and responsibilities. Becoming a real estate agent was not the end goal for me. This profession allows me to follow the admonition of some of the incredible people that molded my core beliefs. I readily admit, I am a child of the 60’s. I grew up in Washington DC. I came of age during “Camelot” and the Kennedy administration. The civil rights movement transpired before my eyes. Martin Luther King, Jr spoke directly to the problems that festered in the North and South, in the East and West. He addressed the inequalities that existed in large cities and in rural hamlets throughout America. And when he spoke, I listened. I knew he was speaking the truth. (The oppressed can only point to results, the oppressors are privy to the mindset of those that do the oppressing. Simply put, lots of white people readily shared their bile and hate for minorities among one another privately. Publicly, they all said something quite different.) Then another voice came into my world.Bobby Kennedy was a light in a universe filled with darkness. He was a man born into privilege, that refused to allow his station in life to define him. He took on Joe McCarthy, the mob, the Viet Nam War and the rampant socioeconomic inequalities in America. He challenged us more than John Kennedy’s throwing down the gauntlet in his acceptance speech (“Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what can you do for your country”). He envisioned a clearer picture of tomorrow that went beyond MLK Jr’s powerful promise ( “No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”). Bobby Kennedy was best described by brother Ted, “This is the way he lived. My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life, to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.”The reason? As a real estate agent, I am an active participant in facilitating the dream of home ownership. I am an advocate for my clients. I am in a position to make sure they are treated fairly and should something go awry, I can direct them to the proper channels. It is not a major undertaking. It is helping others. It is being able to focus on my clients needs. It is continuing to philosophically march with the thousands that demanded freedom and equality. I am not just a real estate agent, I am an agent for change.The reason. I believe that what I do matters. I can not change anyone else. I can not force anyone to open their mind. I can champion equality. I can use the skills I have garnered to assist those in need. Every interaction offers the opportunity to lead by example. It may seem like I can not change the world, but I can impact my little portion and in just changing a tidbit, I believe you actually change the whole.The reason. When my time here is done, I will joyfully recall, I did my best to leave this place better than I found it. So there you have it. I do this because I believe.

I wanted to go to Paris to practice my art and find work with a professional artist when I was young, but you can’t always follow your dreams when real life intervenes, n’est-ce pas? Months become years. Roads traveled become paths farther and farther from your destination. One day you wake up and look back. No regrets. Just wondering what might have been. There is always tomorrow. Always tomorrow.

A friend of mine owns a landscaping business. Over the years, he has compiled quite a large customer base. Most of them are homeowners in what might be described as upper scale neighborhoods. (We middle class minions mow our own.) We were having lunch together and he was picking my brain about real estate. He shared that he was successful because he bundled various services that his clients chose from a menu of things he offered. The conversation went along the lines of “I try to sign up groups of people in specific areas. That way I keep my costs down. If I had to, I could sub-contract the work and still make money.” I asked, “How will you be sure that those doing the work for you will do it to your standards?” He responded, “It’s cutting grass and taking care of a lawn, it isn’t rocket science. There are plenty of guys out of work that would jump at the chance to earn a little money.”. He then shared that he was thinking about branching out and doing real estate. “i know you guys are making all the money. You get like 6% to sell a home. I’ve seen agents at work. They drive up to an empty house and unlock a door, walk around with their clients and move to the next house. I watch t.v. and how hard can it be to show somebody three houses, let them pick one and make 6% of the sale. You must be rolling in dough.” I smiled, “That’s not exactly how it works, there is a bit more involved.”. He shook his head. He then went on to share his idea. He would create a website for buyer’s to visit and sign up. He would also sign up real estate agents that were not real busy and offer them contract work. “No different than what I do now. I collect the $60 for mowing the lawn and give $20 to the contractor. I keep the rest. In my real estate venture, I figure I can collect the 6% and I will give the agent 2% and here is the kicker, I will give the buyer 3%. Leaves me with a fat 1%. I may retire early! Fool proof get rich in real estate plan, don’t you think?” I shook my head (aka smh) and said “Not exactly”.He was excited, even picked up the lunch tab and hurried for the door. I think he was going to call his new company SavePro or something like that. As he drove off, I knew one thing was for certain. It would be the last lunch check he could pick up. While there is a wide range in commission structures out there and they are all negotiable, in the majority of cases there are two brokers sharing the commission. In most transactions, those brokers are sharing their portion with the agent that represented the client. Furthermore, any agent willing to do piecework is not very busy for a reason. Here’s a clue, the reason is not because they are at the top of their profession. But new ideas crop up all the time. Business owners large and small, with minimal understanding of the actual business of real estate become convinced they can make a killing cutting corners. They come and go like rotting seaweed on the tide. We real estate folks experience their coming and going on a regular basis. Our only solace is that the tide comes in but twice a day and the stench of that seaweed is soon replaced by fresh ocean air when the tide goes out. Oh, and if anyone believes that buying a home is as simple as looking at three homes, having coffee and choosing one, well, as the old joke goes “I have a bridge in Brooklyn that might interest you..”

There is one thing you can lose that will lead to losing everything – patience. It is a virtue and one of the things we should hold dear.

elusive butterfly….flitting from here to there…won’t you pause…just for a minute…..i need your beauty….time is short….the heat of the noon day sun only masks the coming fall……i need your beauty….elusive butterfly….flitting from here to there…

It’s over 50 years since I walked away from those prison walls. Dressed in a grey t-shirt, white chinos, a brown corduroy jacket and boots, I put out my thumb for a ride and scrambled my way through a half century. That’s white privilege defying recidivism. That’s more yesterdays, one step ahead of the past and two steps from tomorrow. As my son shared, pop, you will never again be as young as you are today. Every tomorrow is waiting for you. So, I will journey on and journey on. I will journey on.

Now that the USA is right back where we started in the pandemic, how does that make me feel? I will share …Frustrated ????? I think I am beyond that point. When I see photos of drunken “Covid” parties, large groups of unmasked people wandering beaches and boardwalks, crowds unmasked shoulder to shoulder at a campaign rally or protest march..I see selfishness and arrogance and narcissistic snobbery. I see the ghosts of over 130,000 dead. I see millions infected for life. I see unemployment and businesses failing. I see a life of isolation for those that follow rules so many ignore. I see the world closed to me. I see dreams die for many because no one lives forever and eventually tomorrow will never come. So I am personally angry.

I have lived in my home since June 2009. That may not seem like a long time, but this was my prior itinerary..Porter st nw 1946 Lanier place nw 1951 Georgia avenue ss 1952 1956 Plymouth – 1964 Fox st hillandale- 1964 Paris island sc 1965 Camp Geiger sc 1965 Camp Pendleton ca 1966 N. Figueroa St Highland park ca 1966 Base Brig Camp Pendleton ca 1967 Lyon St Haight-Ashbury ca Georgia ave ss 1967 Cabildo Alley no 1967 Georgia ave ss 1968 Piney branch rd ss 1968 North Hampton dr ss 1969 Needwood rd derwood 1970 Clarksburg road Clarksburg 1971 Damascus road etchison 1975 Towne crest dr Gaithersburg 1978 Brassie place Montgomery village 1979 Winding Creek Pl Gaithersburg 1979 Via home Gaithersburg 1984 Rolling View Dr Lanham 1984 East West Highway ss 1985 East west highway ss 1985 Crystal Rock Dr Germantown 1986 February Circle ss 1986 Beaker Ct SS 1987 Lockwood dr ss 1990 Little Patuxent parkway Columbia 1991 New Hampshire avenue cloverly 1992 Stepping Stone Lane 1993 Odell road Beltsville 1993 Gorman avenue laurel 1 br 1994 DC homeless shelter 1994 Gorman avenue laurel 2 br 1995 Gorman avenue laurel studio 1996 1984 Subaru wagon 1996 Waugh chapel road odenton 1996 Water lily way russet 1997 Gorman ave laurel 1999 Randolph road ss 2002 Daley street ss 2004 Odenhall Court Olney 2009 Musket court Rockville 2009

I have been to many concerts. Beatles to Bee Gees. U2 to Jimmy Buffet. The Doors to Dylan. One night at Evangel Temple in Washington DC, this man told the ushers to lock the doors, we’re gonna have church and he topped them all. https://youtu.be/CvIxwc90BEI

So I was born privileged. Not rich. Privileged. White. I have friends. Many were born privileged. I don’t know if they were rich. Privileged. White. I have others that were not born privileged. I don’t know if they were rich. Non-privileged. Various shades of brown. We were all newborns in the beginning. We just spent about a year laying around and crawling. Then we mastered motoring on two.feet. We all traveled through life. From the outside, it appeared we shared the same paths. We did not. In most cases, the privileged white folks moved from here to there focusing on the destination. Maybe the road was not always smooth, but most of the speed bumps were of our own making. The Non-privileged various shades of brown folks had a different road. Theirs was littered with invisible mines (sort of like Pokémon Go characters, in that you can not see them unless you knew where to look and had the tools to do so). Now these mines became active the second you stepped on them. You could not move or something very bad would happen. But you had to move. The Non-privileged folks moved. Bad things happened. Privileged folks asked why did you move? Non-privileged just stared and wondered why would you ask. We all have to keep moving. Privileged folks could not understand. They never had invisible mines lining their path. Non-privileged folks could not understand. They always had invisible mines lining their path. Neither group ever grasped, we need to change the way paths are made.

knows that our insecurities create the monsters in our mind……..sadly, we remain frozen in the face of our creation……..like an over populated doe, staring into the headlight of our own demise………only to leave an epitaph of sorrow that something was always under the bed.

I have been through trials and tribulations. I have wandered and wondered. A modern day Jonah, creating my own great fish in the beautiful aquarium of my mind, I have suffered. A modern day Job, in sack cloth and ashes of my own invention, I have suffered.Yet, I refused to give in completely. I stood at the precipice of the cliffs I built and looked down. I listened as my personal Satan offered every sensual delight.I never gave up hope. The muck and mire of my struggles through my first 60 years are mostly private. There were times, I weakened, and lashed out. There were times, I questioned…My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?I share this so that anyone in their 20’s, 30’s or later can understand, it is never too late to find yourself and in that discovery, find joy beyond understanding.The walls of any bell jar can be broken. The darkest night always finds sunrise.

I have been through trials and tribulations. I have wandered and wondered. A modern day Jonah, creating my own great fish in the beautiful aquarium of my mind, I have suffered. A modern day Job, in sack cloth and ashes of my own invention, I have suffered.Yet, I refused to give in completely. I stood at the precipice of the cliffs I built and looked down. I listened as my personal Satan offered every sensual delight.I never gave up hope. The muck and mire of my struggles through my first 60 years are mostly private. There were times, I weakened, and lashed out. There were times, I questioned…My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?I share this so that anyone in their 20’s, 30’s or later can understand, it is never too late to find yourself and in that discovery, find joy beyond understanding.The walls of any bell jar can be broken. The darkest night always finds sunrise.

Personally, I see the destruction of statues as a thinly veiled attack upon art. You would find droves of people that would want to tear down “David” or “Venus de Milo” if they were placed in a park or in front of a public building. Botticelli’s work would be burned. Bosch’s work would be shredded. Placement of art should never be reason for destruction of art. Art should be sheltered from zealots and displayed in museums. A museum is a place you choose to enter “at your prurient” risk. Should you not appreciate any one piece on display, move on, it is not required that you be judge and jury of it’s existence. Every statue that has been brought down was the work of an artist. That alone justifies it’s existence.

So timely. When I curse the pain that keeps me up until 3 or 4 in the morning. When I become frustrated with the limits my body can endure each day. When the fog covering memories of brighter days begins to give way to the dark clouds on tomorrow’s horizon. When the sorrow of losing yesterday gives way to the fear of what may be next. When all those things nip at the heels of hope, I have this reminder show up and I am comforted that each day accepted is life. I understand the truth of the saying “Love conquers all!”

#BLM will become fact when thousands march and none of them are people of color

When faced with conflicting feelings about changes in society, do not attribute your angst to conscience, it is more likely the result of childhood religious indoctrination. There is a difference.

At some point police procedures will be changed. Sadly, as we have seen again (Atlanta tonight), you can’t fix stupid. You just can not keep gunning down people that are running away!

bits and pieces never add up to a whole……you might say it is like a fog, you can never capture the gallons of water floating by and usually you are just left damp, wondering what you may have missed hidden in the gloam

1956. My first year having real paint. No more berries, clay, coffee or tea. I had a box, paint and brushes. I still find beauty in words and color. I have lots to say and after over 60 years, I am still seeking a way to say it correctly. When I fall into the dark cave of self doubt, I listen. Then she always whispers “Art on, art on, art on.” So I do.

“May 4th, 1970” is one of my larger works. It measures 3 feet high by 4 feet wide. It was done in acrylic paint. Sometimes I will lay out a full spectrum palette to work (cad red, cad orange, cad yellow, lemon yellow, sap green, pthalo green, pthalo blue, ultra blue, white, black, yellow ochre, burnt sienna and alizirin) and other times I use a mixture of what I feel based on the section of the painting I am working on. In this piece, I used the later approach. Now, I do set the tubes of paint aside based on the overall painting so I can be sure that each color mixed comes from the same roots.

Finally came across phrase that described me doing odd jobs around the house. You can’t fix stupid.

Random observations Fajitas are just soft tacos that you put together yourself Turkey bacon and turkey sausage are a bad joke on breakfast FB folks usually post more pictures about what is really important to them. Scary when a page is full of self portraits Bucket lists are best left in a bucket. How you feel may be out of your control, but how you act isn’t!

If memory serves correctly, 51 years ago I took my girlfriend to see “Rosemary’s Baby”. Around 8:30 the next morning, Molly Taylor made her arrival. Probably not the best movie to share with a 9 month pregnant woman.

Life as an artist (not for the faint of heart)My life as an artist is like a carousel ride. In the beginning I expressed myself without thought. Then came criticism, so I altered here and there. Time passed and I began to lose me. I became adept at emulation. At some point, I became them. In desperation I stopped all together. Then after licking my wounds, I would return to my roots and begin again. Critics, change, emulation and desperation again. I have repeated that cycle more times than I care to admit. My head spins with questions that I can not answer. Fear of not really doing anything of merit is second nature. The little voice is forever whispering “You really don’t know what you are doing. You are a fraud.” Then I gather energy and return to my studio in one more attempt to exercise the demons.

When I was in the 11th grade, I was called to Mr Ward’s Office because of excessive absences. It was mid-March and I had missed about 40 or so days of school. He said that he had spoken with my mother and she was on her way to meet with him. He pointed at the stack of “notes” excusing me that were on his desk, “There are some discrepancies in the signatures on some of these. Maybe your mother can enlighten me? You can wait outside.”. I went out to the area outside his office and took a seat. I suppose it was almost an hour later when my mother walked through the door. “You disgust me. Do you know your father could lose his job because of your behavior?”. Now, my mother was a stoic New England Catholic. Went to mass weekly. Watched Bishop Fulton Sheen on tv. A firm believer in absolutes. You know, heaven and hell, black and white, truth or fable. There was no grey, not even shades of grey in her world. She led me into Mr. Ward’s Office. After exchanging pleasantries, they got to down to business. “Mrs. MacArthur, this stack of notes all have supposedly been written by you to excuse your son’s absence. I have pulled out a sampling that do not appear to be authentic. Would you take a look and let me know if you indeed wrote them?”. He flipped through the stack and pulled out five or so notes that had paper clips on them and handed them to her. She began looking through them and I could see her expression turning very dark. One by one, she set them down on his desk. She stood up and said,”Mr. Ward, I wrote every one of them. I think we are done here.”. She turned to me and said, “Let’s go. My cab is waiting. “, and walked out the door. We were in the back of the cab when she finally spoke again. “I wrote those notes he handed me. I can only imagine you wrote the rest of them. “. We rode the rest of the way home in silence. Once inside our house, she said, “ I don’t care if you go to school or waste your time sitting in your room writing poems or stories. I don’t care if you want to spend your life smoking drugs,hanging out in NYC or painting pictures. You will not jeopardize your father’s job. In the future, if you need a note, just ask!”. She went to the fridge, got a bottle of Old German and went and sat on the couch. She didn’t speak to me again for several weeks. Mr. Ward never questioned my absences again. He did suspend me in May for failing to wear socks.

Preakness painting … Relic of the past. At the time, I was walking on clouds. My art, all over Maryland. 20-25 years too late for my parents to see. Word of caution, don’t let your high be too high or your low be too low. The wider the variance, the greater the fall. And we all fall.

Relic of the past. At the time, I was walking on clouds. My art, all over Maryland. 20-25 years too late for my parents to see. Word of caution, don’t let your high be too high or your low be too low. The wider the variance, the greater the fall. And we all fall.

arrest a young man and subsequently They arrest Tommy’s daughter “obstruction of an officer performing his duty”. Suddenly I had tears in my eyes. We will get through this current pandemic. I am old and really can’t change the world anymore. I am begging the younger generation to some how end this senseless racism. If we have not learned in the last month that we are all so much more alike than we care to admit, will we ever?Profiling still goes on. Hoodies, yarmulkes, head wraps, face covering, dark skin, pale skin, yellow skin, red skin, old clothes, new clothes, piercings, tattoos, colored hair, no hair are not a sign of anything other than personal preference. They must not continue to be the way we evaluate one another. We all bleed red. Please let my grandchildren grow up in a world that is fair and safe for them to raise their own. Enough.

Think about your SENIOR year in High School. (If you can remember that long ago 😂). The longer ago it was, the more fun the answers will be! It takes 5 minutes, so let’s have some fun!! 😊 (careful how you answer in case these are tied to your passwords)Class of: 19651. Did you marry your high school sweetheart? No. Fell off a depressive cliff and just stopped communicating with her. Pretty lame but I have spent a lot of my life in a personal cave2. What did you drive? A 51 Buick which became home in my senior year. 3. Where did you work? I was a camp counselor at Alexander Day School. Then a short order cook at Spacks in Silver Spring. 4. Where did you live? Silver Spring Md5. Were you in choir/band? No6. Still talk to your best friend/s? Robert Merrbach has remained my friend since the night Cassius Clay beat Sonny Liston. In the past few years, I have discovered folks from high school that I wish I had known better then7. Ever get suspended? Often. Most memorable was the time Mr Ward suspended me for not wearing socks. Not long after, he barred me from the prom because I was wearing a tux jacket, sweatshirt, jeans and tennis shoes (sans socks again). He suspended me that night for disrespecting prom decorum 8. If you could, would you go back? I would, if only to hug Mrs. Davila for believing in me 9. Still talk to the person that you went to prom with? No. She never got over being “ghosted” (not even a term back then)10. Did you skip? On a regular basis. Senior year I left for spring break and did not return for several weeks11. Go to all the football games? One or two. Our team lost every game in my three years there. Craig Brisbane scored the only touchdown in three years 12. Favorite class? One I was never registered. I went to my sisters one day and drank more beer than I could handle. I passed out in class upon my return. Mrs Eis walked me down to the art wing to sober up. Mrs Davila recognized my issues with authority and allowed me to be in her class the majority of the time I was in school after that day13. Do you still have your year book? No. My ex-wife read the comments and tossed them in the trash14. Did you follow your “original” career choice? No time for choosing15. Do you still have your Senior ring? No16. Favorite teacher? Ms. Davila17. What was your hair style? Bed head18. Favorite Shoes? Chuck Taylor’s19. Favorite thing to eat for lunch? Pizza 20. Favorite band? Hank Williams/Bob Dylan21. High school: Northwood High School

hmmm…i see a ghost ship, continually changing captains, always moving in the same general direction…evolving..one generation after another…to a distant shore…wrapped in the lethal shroud of self indulgence….no albatross above, no sirens below…just the continual rolling of the ocean…every changing yet forever the same…

Those of us in the arts usually fight loneliness. Our results are often acclaimed but our journey is rarely understood. You have to take solace in the realization your gifts are only available to those that appreciate them

They ask me,”Why doesn’t my art sell?”. I tell them,”Do you like what you create? Do you enjoy creating? Sales are not an indicator of the quality of your work. Ciphering what will result in sales is no mystery. Regardless of whether it is your vision or some schlock that is in demand(?), it has to grab a strangers eye and please or interest them enough, they will dig into their discretionary funds and haggle with you. If your demand is reasonable, they will buy. Pricing is key. If you are out in public or a venue think ATM. What is easy is usually $20 increments. If you have one of those swipe gadgets, you can safely sell for a bit more and because of the ease of the purchase, more will find it convenient to buy. Nobody likes to take cash out of their pocket. Checks are never a good idea (your best friend can bounce a check and then you have to chase the money or the Art). Lastly, paint every day. No excuses. If you want to improve and become a better artist, you have to practice practice practice. Did I mention, you have to practice practice practice. Good wishes and Art on!!!”

You know what…Take my $1.37… I want my PBS.Take my $.46… I am all for federal funding of art programs.Take my $.46… I love my museums, colleges, and libraries.Take my $.11… I support developing minority businesses.Take my $.66… I am for entrepreneurship and innovation.Take my $1.60… I want us to export more goods overseas.Take my $0.43… I would like to see more American manufacturing.Take my $0.88… I think community policing needs vast improvement.Take my $1.48… I support programs for women.Take my $1.55… I believe in due process for all.Take my $0.48… We need a civil rights division in the justice department.Take my $0.38… I think we need to defend our Mother Earth.Take my $0.03… I know more work needs to be done for climate change.Take my $8.95… because we need more sustainable energy.Take my $2.71… we should reduce our carbon footprint.Take my $0.48 to support the environment and natural resources division of Dept of Justice too. Citizens need protection from poisoned drinking water.If saving these programs means I’m out $22.84 a year, I’m good with contributing my $.07 a day to save these federal programs. Hell, I will even cover 9 small minded folks and pay 70 cents a day. You can have $228.40. Sadly, I need a whole lot of others to agree

Brick and mortar only succeeds when it is in a high traffic area. Even free rent can not offset the lack of traffic opportunities. All across the US retailers are realizing people are changing the way they shop. Landlord management faces the dilemma of balancing active occupied space with owners mortgage and taxes responsibilities. As commercial space becomes empty, rental costs are raised to compensate and offset reduced income sources. It happens on Main Street, strip malls and enclosed malls. Empty store fronts reduce foot traffic and the cycle begins. Some management firms have the mistaken opinion that galleries will increase traffic to an area and offer discounted or free rent (until a prospective paying tenant comes along). The more attractive the space, the quicker the free or discounted occupancy ends. Galleries are quick to take what is offered in the mistaken thought that what they offer can overcome any downside (i.e. low foot traffic) to the space. The jubilation felt for every opening lasts only a short time if the only new visitor is dust on the walls. The trend continues as artists tender egos face reality that location trumps talent. It is sad that so many, owners,landlords and tenants base today’s decisions on yesterday’s lifestyles. Artists know that while online shopping is taking over the marketplace, people enjoy and purchase art they see in person. A possible solution would be to accept that galleries are not the draw to retail areas. Outside of friends and families galleries are not a target destination nor can they be considered an anchor. Art is a garnish on the trip to any retail environment. It adds to the experience. Galleries are not museums! Galleries are a visual resting place for people waiting for a table in a restaurant or needing a respite from the shopping experience. Landlords should view them as an integral part of any retail environment. Artists have to realize sales will only be as strong as the volume of eyes on their work. No one appeals to everyone but everyone appeals to someone. High traffic is necessary to give that “someone” the chance to see the work. Art enhances the brick and mortar experience of shoppers and diners. One can only hope that commercial space management sees the changing tide and becomes proactive rather than reactive. It would also behoove gallery management to accept that regardless of the size of the space occupied, if no one sees the art it has little value. It is incumbent on the art community to realize every space is not a worthwhile space. Our art only has measurable value when we share it with viewers. This is true on Main Street, side streets, strip malls and inside malls. No foot traffic sounds a painful death knell. Times change, people’s habits change but one thing remains constant-without eyes on the prize, the prize will just go back to storage. While bemoaning the fate of galleries closing it would behoove all involved to accept today’s lifestyle and adapt to what consumers seek when they leave the comfort of home, pajamas and the internet and go “shopping or dining”.

I have heard so many white people reject the feelings of black people, using statements like “slavery was over 100 years ago” or “I didn’t own any slaves”. Well folks, you can bullshit yourselves until your eyes are brown. This was in our lifetime. The subtle and not so subtle tweets and statements are barely veiled racism. We will never become one until people accept “white does not make right “. All the blood shed was red.

Without a doubt, my favorite museum in the world. I have been in many and I have gazed upon incredible works of art. D’Orsay houses a spectacular collection. More than a place to visit, it is a house of worship for artists. A true resting place

“With expressive painting you either get brilliance or a train wreck.”

Comerica Bank … Social Security Administrations Sweetheart Thieves


Ok, so this is just a logo


It should actually look like this

Now maybe I should start at the beginning. You see, when you make the decision to begin receiving your social security benefits, you are given the option of direct deposit, a check or they will deposit you money in a bank and send you a handy debit card. My first mistake was believing that any bank chosen to work with the Social Security Administration must be suspect and potentially rife with under the table payoffs, etc. Kick backs are an essential part of large government contracts. It is not how well you do your job, it is how much largess can you spread around to the people making the decisions.

ralph babb

Ralph Babb

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Comerica Bank

(He does look tired, but then, I doubt he sleeps at night)

Every month, the Social Security Administration would deposit my monthly benefit (you know, the money I paid in every year before I was 62). I would use the card for personal expenses and business expenses. It was easy to keep track of where the money was going. I could check the account on-line anytime.

For awhile, these bums had me fooled.

Let’s fast forward to July 4th weekend in 2014.  My wife has a friend that invited us to join them for a camping trip in Assateague, Maryland. I had never been camping and thought it would be a fun thing to do. It was. Had such a relaxing time that when she suggested we do it again the following weekend to celebrate my birthday, I immediately agreed.

Stay with me. On July 10th, I stopped at Rodman’s Discount Gourmet and purchased some Brie for the upcoming weekend. I then went to Ranger Surplus on Hungerford Drive in Rockville, MD and bought a shovel for the camping trip (I had learned that one needs a shovel when camping at the beach). I used my Direct Express (Comerica) card to pay for the purchase. At the Ranger Surplus store, the machine jammed and I was not given a receipt. I then went across the street to the Great Wall Supermarket and bought can of Cafe Dumond coffee for the trip.

So far, so good. I left the Great Wall store and drove home at 1:52.

The next morning, I played a round of golf with friends at Gunpowder Golf Course. My wife came home and we left for the ocean at around 5pm. We got to the Food Lion in Ocean City at around 7:30 pm. I used the card to purchase wood for the campfire at that time.

It was a great weekend.  On Tuesday, around lunch time, I attempted to purchase an app for my iphone. The purchase was denied. I went to the computer and signed into my account. You can not imagine my surprise to learn I had no money left in the account.

It seems that the card (well not the actual card since it was in my wallet throughout this ordeal), had been used at the Walmart in Martinsburg, WV at 4:28 for a purchase of $52.75. I did not drive to Martinsburg, WV. I am not sure I have ever been to Martinsburg, WV. I know I have never been in the Walmart in Martinsburg, WV. According to Google maps, it is about a two hour drive from Rockville. Oh, it gets better. The card was used again at 4:29:46 in the same Walmart for a cash purchase of $50.00. At 4:30:19 it was used again for a purchase of $50.00 in the same Walmart.  At 4:56:15 it was used at Wendy’s #0451 Q2 in Martinsburg, WV for a purchase of $4.84.

I was working during this time in Washington DC. I finished work and stopped at Hungry Howies in Derwood, Md and bought a pizza for $5.30 at 10:30:23 pm.

While I was sleeping, at 00:23:04 (just past midnight) the card was used at a Pilot in Hagerstown, Md for a $20.00 purchase. It was used again at the Pilot at 00:23.25 for another $20.00 purchase ( I think that is 21 seconds later), then it was used again at the Pilot at 00:25:01 for a purchase of $11.63. At 00:27:29 it was used one more time at the Pilot fora cash purchase of $21.19.

My round of golf shows up at 7:51:24 on the 11th in Laurel, Md. We teed off at 9:00 am and finished around 1:00 pm or so. At 10:25:02 the card was used at the Walmart in Martinsburg, WV for a cash purchase of $34.83. At 10:33:43 it was used in the same Walmart for a cash purchase of $50.00. At 5:06:46 (while I was driving to Ocean City) the card was used at a McDonalds #32086 in Martinsburg, WV for a cash purchase of $15.44. At 5:45:02 the card was used in the Walmart in Hagerstown, Md for a cash purchase of $60.72.

Here is the thing that baffles my mind. How could I possibly go from the Walmart in Hagerstown to the Food Lion in Ocean City in less than 2 hours? It is at least a three and one half hour drive according to Google maps.

I called the credit card company and was walked through the process. They sent me a form to fill out to the best of my ability. I filed a police report with the Montgomery County Police Department ( I live in Montgomery County). I was told it was a level one fraud investigation and it would take a bit of time to check out my story.

So today, I receive a letter from Christine B in the Fraud Services Department sharing that “During our investigation we found a conflict in the information provided by you and information resulting from our research. Based on this information, we cannot confirm that fraud occurred. They go on to suggest I report the incident to my local law enforcement (interesting, the police report was with my initial documentation) or contact the merchant directly.

OK………..I call BULL SHIT.


It will not change the world. Those that have read this far may say, damn that’s rough.  No, it is not rough. It has only provided me with a mission. I will harangue congress to kill the deal. I will share the story often. I will delight at every misfortune that falls on any of the the people running this corrupt bank. I will ask friends to keep it mind.

And to paraphrase another that was screwed over by our government.

From where the sun now shines in the sky, I will stay pissed forever.